The Denver Broncos are up for day 18 of Draftmas.
Denver finished the season at 9-7 last year after winning the Super Bowl in 2015-2016. They are in a very tough AFC West and will be looking to get back into the playoffs this season.
The offensive side of the ball was clearly the problem for the Broncos last season. They averaged just 20.8 points per game and were in the bottom half of the league in terms of passing and rushing yards per game.
Trevor Siemian and Paxton Lynch will probably be the top two quarterbacks on the depth chart next season. If Siemian doesn’t perform Lynch will get his chance. C.J. Anderson and Devontae Booker are serviceable running backs, but could be upgraded. The Broncos have two great receivers in Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders, but could use some depth behind them.
The real area that needs improvement is the offensive line. Ronald Leary was signed to play left guard, but the tackles still need to be upgraded.
Defensively, The Broncos were great at pass defense, as they were the only team in the league to give up fewer than 3,000 yards through the air. Denver does need to improve in the trenches. They gave up the fourth most rushing yards in the league.
With their pass defense, they don’t need much secondary help. The Broncos do however need to improve their defensive line. Defensive tackle and end are huge needs and have to help stop the run. The linebackers are solid, but Todd Brown could be upgraded, but it’s not a huge need.
Picks and Needs
The Broncos have ten picks in this draft, but three of those are in the seventh round. Denver isn’t too far off from getting back into the playoffs, but needs to make the most of these picks.
First round: (1) No. 20
Second round: (1) No. 51
Third round: (2) No. 82, 101
Fourth round: (1) No. 127
Fifth round: (1) No. 177
Sixth round: (1) No. 203
Seventh round: (3) No. 238, No. 252, No. 253
These needs are in no particular order.
Running Back- This isn’t a glaring need, but could be helpful to the offense. C.J. Anderson has had an up and down career so far. Devontae Booker played decently in his rookie season in limited action. With a loaded running back class the Broncos may take a running back if there is good value.
Defensive Line- Denver signed a lot of veteran defensive linemen, but none are great players. They need to load up on defensive linemen to help stop the run.
Targets and Thoughts
The picks here are who the Broncos could realistically get where they are drafting.
Pick #20: Ryan Ramczyk, OT, Wisconsin
With both tackles being a need, the Broncos will be able to take one of the top three in this class at 20. Ramczyk was a solid left tackle in college, who is a good run and pass blocker. He did a pretty good job blocking Taco Charlton when the Badgers played the Wolverines. He doesn’t have good mobility and athleticism and can be beat by fast rushers and blitzers. He might fit in better at right tackle in the NFL.
Pick #51: Malik McDowell, DE/DT, Michigan State
The motor of McDowell is questionable, but the Broncos should be able to get the most out of him. He has the ability to play multiple positions on the defensive line and should help clog up running lanes for the Broncos.
Pick #82: Bucky Hodges, TE, Virginia Tech
Hodges has loads of potential and is a great receiving tight end with good size. He did very well in workouts for scouts. He can even split out wide and give Denver a lot of options.
Pick #101: Roderick Johnson, OT, Florida State
Johnson has all of the physical tools to be a great tackle in the NFL, but his tape from college didn’t lie. He needs to be groomed into a great tackle. He presents good value here and if worked with properly, could be a great tackle in the NFL.
The AFC West is going to have four solid teams next season. With some good draft picks here, the Broncos can battle it out and make the playoffs once again.
You can read all of the previous days of Draftmas here!
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